Spatial Biology Colors Outside the Lines

High-Plex Fluorescent Labeling Technology Lets Spatial Biology Expand Its Boundaries

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Thermo July 2024 eBook coverA new spatial biology is in sight—literally. It is a more vivid, more detailed, and ultimately more informative spatial biology. It can distinguish between cell types that were once indistinguishable, and it can do so while capturing their spatial context. It can even pinpoint the subcellular locations of individual molecules. And it can accomplish these tasks with unprecedented precision because technology is now available that opens a new dimension beyond the usual three spatial dimensions. This new dimension may be called the “plex” dimension.

Plex refers to the number of fluorescence markers that are used with microscopy and other cell analysis platforms. Conventional platforms may accommodate just a handful of markers, constraining investigations of complex biological phenomena. But such investigations may require many markers.

Unfortunately, using more and more markers—and thereby shifting from low-plex to high-plex spatial biology—has been too difficult for most laboratories. They’ve balked at the need for special expertise, complicated workflows, and instrument upgrades. Fortunately, these difficulties can be overcome with new multiplex imaging technologies. For example, there are antibody panels that are compatible with streamlined workflows and automated imaging systems.

To learn more about these technologies, consult the articles in this eBook—especially the article describing organ mapping antibody panels. Also, be sure to read the articles that describe the kinds of spatial biology applications that are bound to become more common as high-plex technology becomes more accessible. Indeed, this technology is democratizing spatial biology.

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